[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

a1066: Understanding the news about Haiti (fwd)

From: Michel DeGraff <degraff@MIT.EDU>

Unlike Ms. C. Charlot who writes

> Eagerly awaiting your historically correct version in the Herald or
> the Times.

I would not so eagerly await any "historically correct version" of the
news about Haiti from the mainstream media, specially not if that news
is anything that's remotely controversial.

In fact, an "historically correct" analysis of history (take, say,
M.R. Trouillot's book _Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of
History_; Beacon Press, 1995) will show that anything that's
"historically correct" about Haiti and, I'll add, about the "Third
Word" in general, is most likely to be silenced by the mainstream news
media and by popular PhD-minted talking heads.

Some of the reasons behind this "silencing of the past" (and of the
present) are most recently spelt out in the book _Understanding Power:
The Indispensable Chomsky_ (published in 2001 by New Press).  See
ordering information, related bibliography, etc., at:

I recommend this book to those trying to understand (mis-)information
about Haiti and, more generally, see through the smokescreen that many
journalists and intellectuals readily provide uncritical readers who
are in turn asked "to stay out of the news business" or to "eagerly
await" the truth.  This is an age-old tradition, already dissected in
previous books like Herman & Chomsky's _Manufacturing consent: The
political economy of the mass media_ (Pantheon Books, 1988).

By the way, Chomsky also argues that having a PhD or being an "expert
intellectual" is no guarantee for being truthful and honest, and he
uses plenty of case studies that related directly to Haiti.  I suspect
that many of the arguments on this list will become moot once people
start paying attention to the facts documented by Chomsky and other

At any rate, Truth is not something one awaits...

MIT Linguistics & Philosophy, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge MA 02139-4307
degraff@MIT.EDU        http://web.mit.edu/linguistics/www/degraff.home.html